Ramanathaswamy Temple - Rameshwaram

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The temple and the island of Rameswaram have acquired this name because, Lord Rama worshipped Lord Shiva, the God of Gods here on return from Sri Lanka. According to legend, after killing Ravana Lord Rama returned with his consort Goddess Seetha to India first stepping on the shores of Rameswaram. To expiate the "dosha" of killing a brahmin, Lord Rama wanted to offer worship to Lord Shiva. Since there was no shrine in the island had despatched Sri Hauman to Kailash to bring an idol of Lord Shiva.

Between 1897 and 1904, the ALAR family of Devakottai completed the imposing eastern tower of nine tiers 126 feet in height from Thiruppani funds. Between 1907 and 1925 they renovated the Sanctum Sanctorum and the prakaram(inner most corridor) by replacing the lime stones by black granite with adequate provision for light and ventilation and also arranged for the performance of Ashtabandana Kumbabishekam in 1925; then on 22-2-1947 and the third Ashtabandana Maha Kumbabishegam was performed on 5-2-1975.

World Famous Third Corridor :

Outer Wing - East_West – 690 feet

North-South - 435 feet

Innerwing - East_West - 649 feet

North-South - 395 feet

Total number of pillars – 1212

Height of Corridor – 22 feet 7 ½ inch

Second Corridor :

During the construction of first corridor, it was decided to renovate the second corridor. The lime stone structure in Second corridor was dismantled and started granite stone work. But only compound wall in west side and one portion in north side of western wing in south gate was renovated. After that no renovation work as done.

Therefore, it was proposed to complete the Renovation work of Second Corridor by collecting Funds from the public. Between 1961 to 1985, the Renovation work of Second Corridor was taken up and completed the western side of Second Corridor and a portion in North and South side, from the Temple Renovation Fund. Now it has been proposed to complete the Renovation of Second Corridor which has been unfinished and the Renovation work is started now.

The Sethupathy mandapam in front of the Temple's Raja Gopuram 9 main Tower) was constructed by Ramanatha Sethupathy, a descendant of Ramnad Raja dynasty, with his own donation of Rs. 2,75,000 /-. This construction was started on 19-11-69 and completed on 11-2-74.

It is also most essential to construct the North and South Gopurams. Shri Jagadguru Sringeri Peedathipathy and Shri jagadguru Kanchi Kamakoti Peedathipathy have given their kind blessings for the constructions of the North and South Gopurams of the Temple.

This temple is associated closely with the Ramayana and Rama's victorious return from Sri Lanka.

Rameswaram is an interesting temple both from the standpoint of its association with Rama and from a structural standpoint. A. huge temple in the island of Rameswaram (reached via the Pamban bridge across the sea), Rameswaram is known for its long ornate corridors and towers and 36 theerthams.

Legend has it that Rama worshipped Shiva in the form of a Shiva Lingam made of earth by Sita, while returning to Ayodhya. Legend has it that Hanuman was entrusted with the task of bringing an image of Viswanathar from Benares. Anticipating delay in Hanuman's return from Benares, Rama is said to have offered worship at a pre-chosen auspicious moment to a Shivalingam fashioned out of earth by Sita. This lingam is referred to as Ramalingam and the town is known as Rameswaram.

There is yet another Shivalingam here - Viswanathar said to have been brought by Hanuman from Banares. This Shivalingam is referred to as Kasilingam and Hanumalingam. Prayers are offered to Viswanathar before they are offered to Ramanathaswamy.

Legend has it that Rama worshipped Tilakeswarar at Devipatnam nearby enroute to Sri Lanka.

There is also a shrine to SethuMadhava and Lakshmi in Rameswaram. Sethu Madhava is also referred to as Sweta Madhava, the term Sweta referring to the white stone with which the image is made.

The Gandamadana parvatam: is a hill on the island which bears a small shrine containing imprints of Rama's feet held in worship

Architecture and History: This temple, spread over an area of 15 acres , has lofty gopurams, massive walls and a collossal Nandi. Rameswaram also boasts of a 4000 feet long pillared corridor with over 4000 pillars, supposedly the longest in the world. The carved granite pillars are mounted on a raised platform. What is unique about this corridor is that the rock is not indigenous to the island and it was brought in from elsewhere in Tamilnadu across the sea. The eastern Rajagopuram towers to a height of 126 feet and it has nine levels. The Western Rajagopuram, though impressive is not as tall as the Eastern one. The stuccoed image of Nandi is about 18 feet tall and 22 feet in length.

It is believed that the ancient shrine was housed in a thatched hut until the 12th century and that the 1st ever masonry structure was built by Parakrama Bahu of Sri Lanka. The Setupathy rulers of Ramanathapuram completed the rest of the temple. Some of the temple vimaanams resemble the Vimaanams of the Pallava period. Much of the additions were carried out between the 12th and the 16th centuries. The long corridor (3rd prakaram) dates back only to the 18th century. The Gandhamadhana Parvatam (hill) provides a good view of the temple. This temple has received royal patronage from several kingdoms such as Travancore, Ramanathapuram, Mysore and Pudukkottai.

Worship: Six worship services are carried out each day, the first being at 5am. Special worship services are carried out every Friday.

Festivals: Rama's worship is commemorated in the month of Aani (June 15-July 15); two annual Bhrammotsavams are celebrated in Aadi and in Maasi.

Theertham (Water springs): There are 36 Theerthams in Rameswaram of which 22 are in the temple and these waters are said to possess medicinal properties. Bathing in these is considered to be of great significance. The Agni theertham refers to the ocean while the Koti theertham is located within the temple itself.